Canucks fans, myself included, collectively slapped their foreheads at the start of the 2021-2022 season when they saw former Vancouver prospect Jonathan Dahlen lighting the lamp for the San Jose Sharks. Dahlen was acquired from Ottawa for Alex Burrows in 2017 – a popular trade that was considered a big win for a club looking to get younger. Fast forward 2 years and the Benning team flipped a disgruntled Dahlen for a relatively unknown prospect in Linus Karlsson – an unpopular move at the time, but one that also seemed inevitable.
Based on early speculation, Karlsson was projected as having a lower ceiling than Dahlen and was considered a less exciting prospect overall. Canucks fans were reminded of this sentiment as Dahlen started this season in the Sharks’ top 6 scoring regularly. Things have since cooled off for Dahlen who battled some injuries and now has 12 goals and 22 points in 52 games. Still respectable for a rookie, but far from earth shattering.
Today; however, the tables seemed to have turned. 22 year old SHL rookie; Linus Karlsson, just broke none other than Elias Petterson’s rookie goal scoring record as he netted his 26th of the season in his 51st game. He now sits 9th overall in points and is tied for second in goals in the Swedish Elite League.
It has been reported that the Canucks plan on signing Karlsson following the conclusion of the SHL season (which could be sometime in April depending on how Karlsson’s second place Skellefteå AIK fairs in the post season.
Despite the vitriol for the Jim Benning era (some of it very justified), the Linus Karlsson deal appears to be another sneaky winner. It will be interesting to see if Karlsson is plunked straight into the big boy club or starts his North American career in Abby – either way, with the prospect cupboard looking a little bare these days, it sure is nice to have another exciting young Swede debut to look forward to.